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ALTARAS , Spanish family which originated in Castile, and spread to Italy, Turkey, and Ereẓ Israel. To moses (c. 1500) was attributed, probably erroneously, a Ladino translation of the Shulḥan Arukh, printed in Latin characters under the title Libro de Mantenimiento de la Alma (Venice, 1609, 1713). Apparently it was written for the Marranos who could not read the work in the original. According to Steinschneider this work was written by a certain Meir, and Altaras was merely its patron. Three generations of this family were printers. solomon altaras the elder supervised the publication of the Sephardi prayer book which appeared in Venice in 1685. His son, david b. solomon, known as Devash ("honey"), an acronym of his name, lived in Venice between 1675 and 1714. He wrote Kelalei ha-Dikduk ("Principles of Grammar") which was printed at the beginning of the Venice edition of the Mikra'ot Gedolot (1675–78). From 1675 he printed Hebrew books, including a prayer book (1696) and the Mishnah with annotations (1756–60). His signature appears on a variety of halakhic rulings along with those of other rabbis of Venice, and he gave approbations to various books. His last will and testament and an elegy on his death appear in Ẓuf Devash (Venice, 1714). In an addendum to his testament "Devash" he emphasizes "that one must conspire craftily and with cunning in order to fear God and observe his commandments." David's son solomon published books in Venice during the 18th century, among them a prayer book containing the minhag ("custom") of Corfu, entitled Leket ha-Omer (1718).


Steinschneider, Cat Bod, 1777, no. 6432 (on Moses); 3029, no. 9082 (on Solomon the Elder); 856, no. 4787; 2869, no. 7969; Ghirondi-Neppi, 83 (on David b. Solomon); S.D. Luzzatto, Prolegomena to a Grammar of the Hebrew Language (1836), 60; H.B. Friedberg, Toledot ha-Defus ha-Ivri2… (19562); Zedner, Cat, 45.

[Yehoshua Horowitz]